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 Post subject: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:22 am 
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Positives: Pretty strong arm, good accuracy, above average size, displayed some impressive toughness playing through injury this season, put up impressive numbers this year, showed improved awareness in the pocket and improved footwork as well. Showed good ability to read defenses even after play-action, and made pretty good decisions this year, not to mention he showed the ability to make most every NFL throw and when to use appropriate touch or throw a frozen rope.

Negatives: Kind of a 3/4 throwing motion, still needs to keep improving his footwork on drop-backs and in the pocket, played with a great supporting cast of playmakers, never really established himself as a winner, never really made the big play to win a game this year even though he had opportunities to do it, does not strike me as a quality leader.

Overall: I like him as a QB, but I question his intangibles. He has good arm strength and accuracy, can make the throws and seems to have a pretty good work ethic as he has improved pretty significantly in his ability to buy time in the pocket and keep plays alive without rolling out every play. However, I don't think he will be any better than a decent NFL QB. He has talent, but he is not the leader that, say, Mark Sanchez was this year or Matt Ryan was the year before. I don't have a great comparison for him in the NFL, but I could see him developing for a year and then stepping in to start. He may have some success if he has a quality supporting cast (particularly a good offensive line) but I don't think he will lead his team to wins and develop into a great leader on the NFL level if he hasn't already. That makes me doubt his ability to win on the NFL level.

Ultimately I see him as a player whose production will reflect the talent that he has around him, whereas a good/great leader like Sanchez, Ryan, Manning, Favre, Brady, etc. can make the players around him look better than they actually are. Clausen simply doesn't have that kind of leadership quality as far as I can tell.

Projection: Top 20. It is hard for me to say he will go higher than that. He could go top 10, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he fell farther into the 1st round. As teams begin to do their homework on him I think they will be disappointed with his leadership capability, and as a result of his limited intangibles he will slide a bit.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

ARM STRENGTH: 3.5
ACCURACY: 3.5
MOBILITY: 3.0
DECISION MAKING: 4.0
MECHANICS: 3.5
POCKET AWARENESS: 3.0
INTANGIBLES: 2.0

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 Post subject: Re: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:43 pm 
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JIMMY CLAUSEN
6-3/222
Notre Dame Junior

PROS: Has a strong arm with good zip, able to thread the needle. Has good accuracy and will anticipate on some throws. Has mobility to extend play outside the pocket and does a nice job throwing on the run. Does a nice job keeping his eyes downfield when he's scrambling. Shows some ability to slide in the pocket and shows a nice feel for pressure. Is a good decision maker and shows leadership potential. Does a nice job going through his progressions, will throw to the checkdown, and does a nice job seeing the field and making reads.
CONS: Will side-arm some throws, especially when he's improvising and outside the pocket. Doesn't always show great accuracy, not leading his receivers over the middle, and hits them in the numbers rare than throwing them open. Will occasionally force passes and make some mental mistakes, which tend to increase when he's pressured. At times gets antsy in the pocket and starts focusing on the rush. At times puts too much air under the ball, looking for receiver to make play rather than making a good, sharp pass.
OVERVIEW: There is really no major flaw in Clausen's game. The probelm is that there isn't a lot of wow either. What he looks like is a well-coached guy that works well in a pro-style offense, but doesn't have the great "it" to think he can blossom at the next level. Battled through turf toe injury throughout this past season, and caused him to be limited in some early off-season workouts. But with time, there doesn't appear to be much indication it won't be 100% by this summer. Got into some off-field issues at Notre Dame, including getting punched in the face at a bar. Showed improvement with each season, that by his last year he completed 68% of his passes and had a 28:4 TD-INT ratio. Started 34 career games, completing 62.6% in his career and had a 60:27 career TD-INT ratio.
NFL FORECAST: Clausen has a similar description as Brady Quinn when he came out, which is that he is well-coached and that he doesn't necessarily have the upside to get a lot better at the next level. They said the same about Aaron Rodgers as well, and many other Jeff Tedford-coached quarterbacks. And while he can definitely handle running an NFL offense as a rookie, I don't think he should because I'm not sure he responds well to adversity. And I'm not sure he has the great accuracy, throwing in the tighter windows at the next level to really be great there. Instead, I think the best for him is like Rodgers where he can sit for some time, get comfortable in a system and grow into his leadership potential. It's not that he's not a good quarterback, but I don't see a future for him of being an elite quarterback. With talent around him, he'll be a very productive starter. But if you're asking him to take a weaker supporting cast and make them better (like a franchise QB is supposed to do), I think he's going to fall short.
ATL FORECAST: Clausen would be trade bait in Atlanta because he's not as good as Ryan. but he would bea very good option for the Falcons as a backup since he can come in right away and beat out Wilson and Shockley, and even challenge Redman as a No. 2 guy as a rookie. Probably by his second or third season, he should have passed Redman as Ryan's primary backup, and then after that can be traded for picks.
VALUE: Clausen is good enough to sneak into the last few picks of the first round, but is ideally an early second round pick because he doesn't have great upside, just good.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

ARM STRENGTH: 4.0
ACCURACY: 3.5
MOBILITY: 3.0
DECISION MAKING: 3.5
MECHANICS: 4.0
POCKET AWARENESS: 4.0
INTANGIBLES: 3.0

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 Post subject: Re: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:50 am 
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Jimmy Clausen - QB - Notre Dame
Height: 6'3
Weight: 226
40 Time: 4.75
Projected: Top 10 Pick

Positives:

- 3 year starter
- Good size and bulk
- Extremely productive senior year
- Played in a pro-style system, West Coast Offense
- Worked a lot under center
- Great decision maker
- Gets the ball out of his hands quickly
- Finds the open man
- Good internal clock and knows when to step up in the pocket or roll out
- Mobile and can throw on the run with accuracy
- Keeps his eyes downfield
- Great accuracy
- Good arm strength
- Can make every throw
- Does a good job of zipping passes over the middle
- Very tough, played through a torn tendon in his toe
- Committed to the film room
- Great leader

Negatives:

- Throwing motion isn't exactly perfect
- Will side arm his throws when he has to get it out quickly
- Floats his deep ball at times
- Doesn't properly set his feet at times, usually when he has a wide open man and wants to get it to him quickly
- Was never really successful at Notre Dame, I credit that due to the lack of defensive support

Overview:

I think Clausen has all the tools to be a successful NFL QB and a franchise player. He comes from a pro-style system in which he was extremely productive, he has good size, arm strength and accuracy. Despite what Todd McShay spews out of his mouth, Clausen IS a good leader. I've seen him rally his team and pump up his team mates all the time. The reason why he wasn't as successful at Notre Dame as you would expect is because their defense was atrocious. Not to mention his OL wasn't that good either. He is always wanting to get better and he puts a lot of time in the film room. This is one reason why he was so efficient throwing the football and was a good decision maker. People say he's cocky, but isn't that what you want in a QB? If i could compare him to one QB in the NFL right now it would be Phillip Rivers. I think they are very similar players.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

ARM STRENGTH: 4.0
ACCURACY: 4.0
MOBILITY: 3.5
DECISION MAKING: 4.5
MECHANICS: 3.5
POCKET AWARENESS: 4.0
INTANGIBLES: 4.0

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 Post subject: Re: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:57 pm 
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You're right, that Clausen did show leadership while at Notre Dame, and while I have no first-hand evidence to suggest he's cocky, I do get the sense that there is a strong perception out there of that.

During Jon Gruden's QB Camp special that aired Thursday night on ESPN, Gruden mentioned something to Clausen about doing things so that people don't perceive him as Ryan Leaf. I think that's a very calculated statement by Gruden, and I don't think he says that unless that rumor has teeth.

IMO there is a misconception that just because you're NFL ready and/or relatively polished in a pro scheme, makes you a franchise QB. IMHO, this is why Kiper is rating him so highly because he's looked at guys like Ryan, Flacco, Sanchez, Stafford, etc. seen how they performed as rookies, and rating Clausen based solely off what he can do in 2010. And I would agree with him that if their NFL careers only consisted of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, then Clausen is the best QB in this class. The problem is that most of these guys will have careers that extend beyond 2015, 2016, and maybe even 2020.

It's interesting to note that it took Clausen the better part of 2-3 years to develop the leadership he showed at Notre Dame. Bradford showed it right from the start at Oklahoma as a redshirt freshman.

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 Post subject: Re: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:57 pm 
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Without a doubt, Clausen was immature when he first came to Notre Dame. However, he has really matured in his time there and i think the maturity issues are a thing of the past. You're right that he took a while to develop into the leader he is because he was immature. I really don't think it is a problem now, once again Todd McShay says it is and he can go ahead and say that though i don't believe a single word he says on any prospect. When his own teammates say Clausen is a great leader and works hard and that maturity is not an issues, it's kinda hard to argue with that.

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 Post subject: Re: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:09 pm 
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I don't want to make it sound like I think Clausen lacks leadership ability. As I said earlier, I saw leadership from him this past year from him in the games I saw.

But I don't consider his teammates as having good context for this issue. I guess the issue is whether you believe Clausen is a natural leader or a de facto leader. I think the fact that it took some time indicates it's more a de facto leadership, rather than an innate ability to lead (as evidenced in a player like Matt Ryan).

I just think when you're watching the games, you just have to have a gut feeling about a guy. I call it "field generalship," in that you get the feeling that it is his team, his offense, and he's the general out there directing all of his troops to victory. I got that the first time I saw Matt Ryan play, Carson Palmer play, and got a hint of that the first time I saw Sam Bradford play as a redshirt freshman. In fact, I was astounded to discover after seeing Bradford play a couple of games that he was a freshman. I just assume he was some junior I had never heard of. I didn't get that sense when I first saw Clausen play two years, nor did I get it last year, or this past year. Could it have been personal bias? Perhaps.

But I'm just not high on Clausen. I don't see anything special about him. And it seems like I'm not the only one. It's not just McShay, other people "in the know" (i.e. talk to NFL teams on a regular basis) seem to think he isn't anything special either...much close to just a guy than to an NFL franchise quarterback.

And for the record, I don't think Bradford is going to succeed in St. Louis.

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 Post subject: Re: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:18 pm 
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I respect your opinion on Clausen because we all have differing opinions on players. And you're right more than just Todd McShay don't like Clausen. The difference is that other, professional scouts, don't like Clausen because they see a flaw in his game. Todd McShay on the other hand doesn't like Clausen because he apparently played on a stacked team, is too short at 6'3 and is immature.

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